Heart Rate? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-29-2007, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, when should you be concerned about your heart rate?

I've noticed that whenever I'm at the gym, my heart rates shoots up and stays up, while it seems like everyone else is working a lot harder than I am with lower hear rates.

I think the highest I've gotten was between 185-190 and I was really working then. For moderate exercise (slightly out of breath, sort of feelin' the burn) I tend to stay around 160-170.

I don't know if it also has to with what my body is used to as really I'm a swimmer. When I was swimming in college, I could maintain at 160 even during our really fast, strenuous sets (or else it was dropping quickly when I stopped swimming. Kind of hard to take your heart rate when you're swimming!). When I'm at the gym, I'm mostly on the elliptical type machines, and believe me, I'm not a runner!

I've also read that the heart rate formulas are really just guide lines and it's ok to be outside of them (as obviously they can't be an indicator for 100% of everyone).

So, anyone with slightly more heart rate knowledge than me have any insights?

~Julia
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#2 of 6 Old 08-30-2007, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No one knows about heart rates? anyone? Pretty Please?:
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#3 of 6 Old 09-02-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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On the other end of the spectrum, I can be running at a steady clip for 8-10 miles and my heart rate maxes out at 152! Usually I am in a great aerobic zone (for me) at 130-140. As a long time exerciser and part-time marathon runner, I have spent years trying to figure this mystery out...am I working hard enough at 140 when the other women in my cycling class are at 182?!

There are so many unknown factors that contribute to our bodies, our make-up, our optimum health. What I hear you asking is if you are training YOUR body in a healthy way. Perhaps the fitness zone and target heart rate charts give us a range of normal, but I believe this is like pregnancy and birth - there is normal based on statistical spreads and then, there is your own personal normal.

Here is my suggestion (because it is what I did - so it is only one humble opinion afterall!): Invest in a heart rate monitor for training. My first marathon coach taught me this trick. How it works is twofold. First, it can help you calibrate your resting heart rate and target heart rate zones - based on you specifically. Then, it monitors your daily heart rate zone while you exercise. (A personal monitor with a chest strap and a wrist watch work much better than the hand-held sensors at the gym.)

By calibrating your resting heart rate (taken while lying down, first thing in the morning), you can see how far the spread is between resting and active. Perhaps, since your HR is high when you work out, you also 'idle' high in general. I know that I discovered my resting HR was 46-48 bpm - which is very slow. So, at 152, I have increased my HR over 100 bpm. While low on the charts for maximum HR, 152 is quite high for me based on my resting zone. Discovering this was good information for me.

The additional benefit of training with a HR monitor is that working out becomes a game. You keep track of numbers, of minutes in a zone, you can balance weekly workouts based on the various zones of intensity. You can have one long endurance work out, two shorter workouts at a high intensity and two or three moderate intensity work outs. Knowing your zones also lets you know when to back off and put in a walking interval to bring your HR back down.

I hope this helps a little. I'm an amateur fitness lover, self taught the hard way! Please take my advice with this in mind...I'm no expert!

But I wish you all the best.
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#4 of 6 Old 09-03-2007, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much! I'll look into figuring out my resting heart rate. Where can you find heart rate monitors. I'm familiar with how to get an estimate based on pulse and time (and of course the gym maching handles!), but I think you're right that they're not super accurate.

I do like exercising based on heart rate. I find it so boring to be on a machine that I really need something to engage me. Problem is, most machine's keep telling me to slow down. They tell me that I should be at 150 when working at 80%, so whenever I go over (which I always do) they fuss. I guess I could just do a manual program though, based off of their preset programs.

I also have a problem lowering my heart rate while I'm still working. I mean I can lower it from 180 to 160, but never as low as the 130ish that the machine wants, not until I stop my work out.

I suppose the moral of this story is to ignore the machine! I wonder if the type of exercise matters at all? Like I mentioned before, when swimming I seem to have an easier time keeping my heart rate lower as I work harder, but I've been swimming competitively since I was 8. Running just kills me! but I've never been involved with a sport that involved much running.

Thanks again, this is all very interesting to learn about!

Julia
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#5 of 6 Old 09-03-2007, 11:39 PM
 
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I love my Polar heart rate monitor...you can find one at Polar.com.

Wishing you all the best!
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#6 of 6 Old 09-05-2007, 03:42 PM
 
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I did the same thing as UrbanEarthMama. Its important to find out what your resting rate is and adjust accordingly. My resting rate is 42, and its due to my genetics and not my world class fitness level which my doc originally thought All I could do was laugh at her when she asked if I, at 200 lbs, was an elite runner Anyways, I have a Polar F6 and I really like it.
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